The 2012 USF2000 National Championship Presented by Cooper Tires Powered by Mazda won’t decide it’s champion until the final race of the season set to take place tomorrow at 9:15am EDT. All season long, the two Cape Motorsports with Wayne Taylor Racing drivers, #83 Matthew Brabham and #2 Spencer Pigot, have had a back-and-forth battle for the championship lead. After suffering a DNF in the second race in Baltimore, Brabham had a significant advantage over Pigot, leading by 41 points, 307 to 266.
When the USF2000 drivers took to the Virginia International Raceway Grand Course, Spencer Pigot proved to be the fastest in the paddock, leading every practice session and taking the pole position during qualifying for Race #1. Spencer took that prime grid position and ran clear away from the field, leading flag-to-flag and finishing 16.047 seconds ahead of second-place finisher Neil Alberico, driver of the #19 JDC MotorSport machine. Neil’s P2 finish was his best finish of the season after finishing as high as P5 four other times during the season. Wayne Boyd, who had returned to Belardi Auto Racing in Baltimore, completed the podium finishing in P3. The championship leader, Matthew Brabham, finished in P4 despite starting on the front row next to Pigot after a tough first lap. At the end of Lap 1, Brabham found himself back in P5 fighting with privateer Matthew Di Leo. He would get the better of Matthew, but he would not advance beyond P4.
Pigot’s win from pole, and Brabham’s less-than-optimal finish off the podium, allowed him to take a large chunk out of Brabham’s championship lead. While Brabham still remains on top of the championship standings, he only leads Pigot by 27 points now. Tomorrow morning’s race will decide the title. Pigot will begin tomorrow with as advantageous of a position as he could possibly have hoped. Spencer, having set the fastest lap in Race #1, will start again from the pole while Matthew will start mired back on the 4th row in P7. That’s a sketchy part of the grid, especially during the final race of the season as everyone will be trying their hardest to end the season with the best possible result. Still 27 points in one race is a tough gap to overcome. All Brabham needs to do is to keep his car on the track and in one piece to secure the championship. If he suffers a DNF, however, Pigot will have an easy time scoring enough points to claim the title for himself.
In the National Class battle, Henrik Furuseth would chip away at R.C. Enerson’s lead, reducing the gap from seven points to only three. All three National Class championship contenders, Furuseth, Enerson, and Eaton, finished one behind the other in Race #1, P13, P14, and P15, respectively. Thus like with the Championship class battle, the final determination for the title will happen in tomorrow morning’s Race #2.
Be sure to catch tomorrow’s season finale at USF2000.com’s live timing and scoring site, http://usf2000.com/Multimedia/Live.aspx. In addition to timing and scoring, you can also listen to live audio from the race as well as chat with other fans and USF2000 officials.
Tom Turk of Piratical Photography is at VIR this weekend and has been sending us some fantastic images. Here’s his USF2000 photos from yesterday and today. There’s more to come, so check back regularly throughout the weekend.